…so you don’t stumble or miss out.
It is Hard to Know What Is Missing
They say, in science circles, that errors of omission are the most difficult errors to spot. It is true, in scientific study and in regular old life. In regular old life the “something is missing” thoughts that tug at the edges of consciousness can be quite disconcerting, almost feeling like being gaslighted.
I am probably unusual in that I tend to follow-up brushes with the unfamiliar by digging into the unknown topic as best I can.
Finding Out Enough to Run My Business
I try to learn new practices and procedures to run my website and business to stay somewhat current in the tech of my field of business. I don’t code, though I suppose I could, but I really do not enjoy doing it. If pushed into a a corner I will alter a line of HTML; if pushed into a viper pit I will change a tiny bit of a CSS.
For several years, since 2012, I have offered the Tucson Women Bloggers meetup as a place where I, and other savvy women, share what they know about the online world within a women’s culture venue. I felt it to be critically important for small businesses and solo-preneurs to know enough to avoid over-priced, independent IT contractors or allow well-meaning but unskilled nephews or nieces to setup their websites.
It is nearly always important to have a Plan B in your pocket for necessary actions and processes. At minimum we all need to know what those processes are.
Finding Out Enough to Run My Own Life
I first really understood all this when I was in my 40s and my mom, in her 80s, came to visit us in Arizona from Indiana. After a couple weeks together irritating each other, we finally confronted each other about stuff from my childhood. I later came to understand her actions were indicative of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. She became insulted, indignant, and outraged. After fuming in her room for a half an hour, she announced that I should get a return ticket for her, immediately. She was shaken and shocked when I said, “Do it yourself.”
She was so accustomed to having everyone do her bidding that she had no idea how to get herself back to her home if she could not wait the few days for the planned and ticketed return leg of her trip to roll around.
I do not remember all the details, but she ended up staying with us for the full duration of originally planned time.
I did not really think about it from her perspective at the time, but after a few days I decided that I would never allow myself to be in such a vulnerable position. But I am not yet close to the age she was at that time, and despite my attempt to stay savvy about tech and communication, it is exceedingly difficult to know how to navigate all the paths we access in our automated, digitized world.
Losing Access to Your Information
I recently was reminded of all this recently.
I lost my new iphone when my husband and I were hiking, along with our trusty canine companion, in an Arizona State Park. Fortunately, it was found the same day and returned to the Park Rangers. But before it was found, I realized that I had not completely integrated our new phones into the personal network that recognizes and tracks all our devices. My husband’s phone could not “find” the location of my phone.
We drove the twenty miles back to our home and told our devices, via our laptops, to recognize and communicate with each other completely. Then we drove back to the State Park and saw, via my husband’s phone, that the phone was there and tracked it moving along a trail, then to a parking lot, and then to the Ranger’s Station.
I also discovered that day that when the carrier activated the new phones that we had lost the ability to create hotspots via our mobile phones.
I was angry with myself not so much about being inattentive and losing my phone, but about not being on top of my tech.
It is difficult to stay on top of topics you do know, let alone recognize what you don’t know. We are so busy doing, that we spend little time knowing.
Back when the U.S. economy imploded in 2008 and people lost their homes and savings, a certain percentage had more time to devote to gaining information. Within a couple of years the Occupy Wall Street movement came on scene. In response to all this, I wrote a rambling run-on piece, Being Smart is Good, which remains up and online (and in desperate need of editing) about people having more time to pursue knowledge when they are unemployed.
This all seems very pertinent when we are isolating at home due to the ignorance with which an emergent pathogen was dealt, even thought we have known this sort of situation going to happen for a very long time.
I find it particularly interesting that countries led by women had the best responses to the Covid-19 emergence.
For those of us with what are sometimes referred to as “white people problems,” during this horrid plague – though we who are fortunate can change status in an instant from okay to “gravely ill with the virus” – perhaps we should focus a few hours a day of this new-found, though enforced, leisure to a task such as researching what it is that we do not know.
Need a Return of Retro Information
In that previously-mentioned, rambling and unedited post, I mentioned a bygone belief system alluded to in McGuffy’s 6th Reader, that by the time a person has completed all 6 readers in the series he or she is prepared to be responsible for themselves, including taking responsibility for their own creation and management of a plan for reading and continued self-education throughout life.
It should rather be urged that those who can read the fewest books and who have at command the scantiest time, should aim to read with the greatest concentration and method; should occupy all of their divided energy with single centers of interest, and husband the few hours which they can command, in reading whatever converges to a definite, because to a single, impression.page 461 from McGuffey’s 6th Reader, revised edition also know as the Eclectic Series downloaded from Project Gutenberg and still accessible as of April 14 2020 here.
Maybe we should all take the time to consider what our great-grandfathers, or great-great-grandfathers (or Grandmothers!) who may not have completed more than sixth grade, actually knew.
In my case, my great, great grandfather, John Milton Hill depicted above, seated, was a Union Army veteran who fought at Gettysburg, and attended the church in Kosciusko County where Sojourner Truth bared her breast and said, words to the same effect as “Ain’t I a Woman?” her famous phrase made in Ohio at a women’s rights convention.
Neither the times, nor the people, were uneducated, and we would do well to emulate them by attempting to find out what we do not know and rid ourselves of ignorance and misinformation.